Fat Kids Corner food review: The Pastrami Phenomenon
One of the best things about being a Fat Kid in a new city is stumbling across places that you wouldn’t normally find. This was the case with Boer Geert and the “Pastrami Phenomenon.” Living in Amsterdam Oost, I rarely find myself on the west side of town… and truth be told I actually walked past Boer Geert two times before I stopped.
The first time
The first time, I was just casually walking through the market on my way to “De Hallen", the second time, similar scenario; however, I did see some guy destroying a sandwich that looked delicious and didn’t think to stop and ask what / where? Stom!
Twee weken geleden, half een, donderdag. I look out my window to gauge the weather. Everyday, it’s like the “Goldie Locks” story here. Is it cold out, is it warm out, or is it just right? Will it rain, will it be dry or both? I don’t know… I’m losing my mind because I’m hangry, so I jump on my omafiets and start cycling.
Boer Geert here I come!
The Patriarch of the Pistoletje
I pass countless numbers of other fietsers, I even fly past Tom Dumoulin as I yell out “Kijk uit, jongen!” He apparently isn’t as hungry as I am, as I whiz past Sarphatipark, past Ferdinand Bol and get to Museumplein in record-breaking time. I’m a “man on a hunger mission”, I cycle fast... real fast!
I’m heading towards the Old West district of Amsterdam on Van Baerlestraat and make a quick left by the Kinkerstraat. So many places to eat… a kebab spot, a burger joint, a snackbar, a salad place (ha ha)... none of which get my stomachs attention.
Then, as if the “Patriarch of the Pistoletje” has put the “Fatman" signal in the sky, I hit the brakes on my bike, fishtailing my rear end as I get to the Ten Katemarkt and sprint to the Boer Geert stand. Phewww… Made it!
It’s business as usual as the street vendors are heel druk, hustling their products. From bread, cheeses, vegetables, fish and fruit to bike locks, travel luggage, teas, tandpasta (toothpaste) and everything else you can imagine a neighbourhood “flea market” has on offer!
Not till my third visit and eighth sandwich did I find out the history of Boer Geert. It’s truly a family affair! First starting 65 years ago with zijn opa, then de vader of Boer Geert and NOW Geert and his daughter run the show.
Situated in the same spot at the Ten Katemarkt for 30 years, their signage says, “Voor alles wat lekker is” which translates to “Don’t be an idiot, stop here and eat!” There is also a twin brother who runs the Zaandam shop and the company's catering orders. It’s a friggin' “Delicatessen Dynasty!”
The Dutch Kirk Douglas
Geert could have a star on the “Hollywood Walk of Fame,” he’s like the Dutch Kirk Douglas: handsome, debonair with a sparkling personality, strong chin and always a smile on his face. Call me “Cinderfella” cause Geert is like “Prince Charming on a white horse,” however, his horse is made out of bread and pastrami and it’s galloping into my belly before midnight!
Everything is made super fresh! Enjoy the Steak Teriyaki, Filet, Hot Chicken, Bruscetta, Kebab, Focaccia, Vitello Tonnato, Caprese or Warm Vlees. Truly, “Voor alles wat lekker is!”
Since I’m a chubby Jewish kid from New York and my pacifier was made from pastrami, I have to stay close to my roots and order one. Standing on his podium acting as the “Pope of Pastrami”, serving heavenly broodjes uit de buurt, Geert first takes the marinated Pastrami and warms it on top of a hot circular flat grill, creating that sexy sizzle us Fat Kids love to hear. Pssssssss….
Next, a fresh pistoletje bread is sliced. For those that don’t know, a pistoletje is a small “hot dog bun” shaped bread where the outside crust is usually hard and crispy, while the inside is soft and fluffy. Iceberg lettuce positioned on the bottom, this “Pastrami Philanthropist” adds a heaping amount of that succulent meat to the bread. Almost finished, he tops it off with a few generous squeezes of a homemade honey mustard sauce and now it’s ready to be donated to my gut...
You really taste every element of the sandwich. Your first bite combines the crispy crunch of the bread with the salty smokiness of the pastrami. A light and perfect sweet sting from the honey mustard to the crunchy freshness of the lettuce making this three-ingredient sandwich one of the best in town! Four bites and it’s gone! Pastrami perfection at its finest.
Better than Katz's?
I wipe my face and ask Boer Geert: “Why pastrami? Waar komt de inspiratie vandaan? With a smile on his face, he tells me that he had been to Manhattan, New York’s iconic Katz’s Delicatessen and thought he could do it better than them... and in many, many ways, he does.
When in Amsterdam West, make it a point to stop by Boer Geert at the Ten Katemarkt and enjoy not only his pastrami sandwich masterpiece but also the friendly conversation that comes with it!
Have you ever tried Boer Geert's pastrami? Or perhaps you have any other pastrami tips? Let us know, leave a comment!